Fila Sentinel Men's Shoe Review
- Six-month outsole guarantee
- Poor ventilation
With the Sentinel, Fila started from the ground up in an attempt to build a lightweight, stable shoe that is able to withstand the rigors of elite players and aggressive play. For the most part, Fila succeeded. The shoes felt light and fast on our TW testers' feet, and coupled with some nice support features, the Sentinels allowed them to move around the court with confidence. The shoes offer a low-to-the-ground feel with a wider fit in the forefoot, which only adds to the stable feel. Our one knock came in the way of ventilation. We simply felt there was not enough breathability in the upper to keep your feet comfortable on hotter days. All in all, they're stable, they're light and they're comfortable.
Comfort - Score: 4.1
The plush cushioning stood out to our playtesters, making the Sentinel a very comfortable option to take to the courts. "The comfort and cushioning are highlights of this shoe for me," said Jason. "The cushioning system was more than adequate from heel to toe, helping absorb any shock from tougher landings. It did provide a higher ride, however. It felt like I was on top of the cushioning rather than in it. The uppers required no break in at all."
Andy also took note of the plush cushioning as well as the slightly spacious fit that had his feet happy as clams. He said, "When I slipped these shoes on I felt the plush cushioning right away all around my feet. They're not the most cushioned shoes around, but there's definitely a good amount of it, and it's noticeable. The forefoot is also nice and roomy, so the forefoot has a little room to maneuver. There was no particular movement that caused me any discomfort on the court. Overall, the comfort of the Sentinel is solid, but not outstanding."
Rounding out the crew was Chris, who also enjoyed the plush feel and shock absorption on the hard courts. He offered, "With a fast break-in and adequate cushioning, the Sentinel was a comfortable shoe. The uppers flexed nicely, and I never had any uncomfortable poking or pinching when running around on court. There was enough cushioning underfoot to take the shock out of hard court play, yet not enough to make me feel too elevated. I also liked the level of padding around the ankle collar."
Ventilation - Score: 2.7
All of our testers thought their feet ran a bit hot in the Sentinel, especially after long hours on court. Chris would have traded some of the plush cushioning for more breathability. He explained, "These shoes feature a lot of mesh on the uppers, but the ventilation was only mediocre. On hot days my feet got hot and sweaty, and I expected better venting from this shoe. They felt more comfortable on days when the temps were not soaring high, but airflow was never great. I'm guessing the upper's padding and lining, which on one hand make them very comfortable, also nullify the effectiveness of the mesh upper somewhat."
Sharing a similar opinion was Andy. He said, "The combination of synthetic materials and mesh helps make the shoes very stable but not too breathable. My feet did tend to run a bit hot in them, especially outside in the summer heat. It was never really a problem, but I was eager to get them off after play."
Jason was surprised with how little ventilation he felt when he considered the materials used. He said, "I was very shocked at how hot the shoes were. With what appeared to be a plethora of mesh on the uppers, I thought my feet would be cool like a cucumber on the other side of the pillow. I was wrong. These shoes felt very hot. I wore them on an unusually warm day and I had to immediately take them off after the hit because my feet felt stifled."
Arch Support - Score: 4.2
The arch support of the Sentinel fit a variety of arches. The shoe fit Andy's low-to-medium height arch just fine. He said, "I had no complaints about the arch support. It felt slightly lower than medium to me, so at times I wished for a little more support, but it was nothing that caused discomfort. This shoe fit my foot, as well as my arch, very nicely."
Even with higher arches, Chris felt more than enough support. He offered, "After a short break-in the arch height felt like it had molded to the shape of my feet pretty well. The midfoot shank did a good job of protecting my arches when I was sprinting around. The flex point was spot on, and I liked the lateral rigidity through the arch area. There was enough flex to make the shoes feel fast, yet enough stiffness to protect my arches."
Jason's flatter feet were happy as well. He said, "The arch support was low enough and plush enough that my low arches didn't ache after the initial wear."
Foot Support/Stability - Score: 3.9
There were mixed opinions when it came to the Sentinel's support and stability. It took Chris a couple of wears to adjust to the shoe and figure out how to lace it to make it work for him, but in the end he found it stable enough. He explained, "I found the shoes supportive from the very first wear. I had some minor heel slippage on my first hit, but the shoes offer three different positions for the top lace eyelet. I used the rear most upper eyelet as well as the lower eyelet to securely fit the shoe and lock my heels in. As the test wore on the shoes opened up a bit and became a tad too wide fitting in the forefoot for my narrow feet. However, I was able to find a decent fit by switching to a thicker sock. There was also just enough stability from the chassis of the shoe to keep my feet feeling safe and secure."
Jason thought the shoe wasn't supportive enough for him, and he, like Chris, had some issues with heel slippage. He offered, "I had two issues with the shoe. First was the heel slippage. I couldn't get the laces tight enough to prevent my heels from sliding up and down every time I took a step. The other problem I had was that the shoe seemed to twist and give when I planted hard to change directions. A positive, though, was that my feet weren't sliding around inside the shoe and my toes didn't jam into the front of the shoe, even when I had to stop quickly while moving forward."
On the contrary, Andy found the shoe to be plenty supportive and stable. He said, "The support and stability were standout features of this shoe. The ride is low to the ground and very stable, and it made me feel totally confident when moving around the court as fast as I could. I even felt comfortable sliding around on the hard courts, which I only do when I'm 100 percent confident in my shoes."
Overall Sole Durability - Score: 3.6
Once again, there were mixed opinions on the durability of the Sentinel. Jason was able to put a good beating on the outsole during the course of the playtest. He said, "The soles held up reasonably well considering their price point and weight. I definitely noticed more tread wear than I typically put on a shoe, but it wasn't terribly apparent. The left shoe on the medial forefoot showed the most significant signs of tread loss."
Andy was pleased with how well the shoe held up, but he wouldn't put it in the upper echelon of durable shoes. He offered, "I thought the durability was good, but not great. I really put these shoes to the test. I wore them a lot during this playtest, and they held up the entire time, but by the end they were showing some significant wear and tear. The durability is similar to the likes of the Propulse or Gel Resolution series."
Chris, on the other hand, wasn't all that happy with how long the shoe lasted. He explained, "The outsole seems to be built for traction rather than outright durability. Softer, grippy outsoles like this seldom last well, and that was the case here. It did not take me long to see wear on the outsoles, and the area under the big toe of my right foot has already taken a beating. I was a little late getting into this test, so I've only logged 15 hours of hitting on the shoes. Still, the level of wear is heavy, and it won't take much more for me to blow through the outsole. I would say the shoes are more durable than a Nike Vapor 9 Tour but not as durable as an adidas adizero Feather II."
Toe Durability - Score: 4.1
Chris, our lone toe dragger on this playtest, found the toe area to wear better than the outsole. He explained, "The toes of the shoes are holding up better than the outsoles. Durability at the toe tip is solid, and there is enough there to ward off some hard court abuse. I have quite a bit of scuffing to the toes of the shoes, but so far they have held in there and are surviving the test."
Traction - Score: 4.1
Although there were a couple instances of slipping, our playtesters were very satisfied with the traction of the Sentinel. Andy loved the blend of stick and give, but he thought the traction started to wane as the outsoles got worn down. He explained, "For the most part the traction was never a concern, but toward the end of the playtest I did start slipping and sliding a bit more than usual as the outsole wore down. Again, I was doing a lot of sliding on my own and really putting the speed limits to the test (as best as I could), but sometimes I would go to stop quickly for a shot on the run and I'd spin my wheels a bit."
Chris was also pleased with the traction. He said, "I was impressed by the level of grip and give from these shoes. I found them to hook up decently with only the occasional slip here and there. I liked how the shoes had just enough give to allow a little slide when I was coming to a stop, taking some of the stress off my ankles."
The soles were a little slicker than usual for Jason, but he got used to the feel and found it didn't affect his movement. He said, "There were times when I did slip when changing direction, but for the most part the traction was reliable. I had no problems with forward and backward movements. Toward the end of the playtest I could anticipate my slide, so it didn't throw me off."
Weight - Score: 4.2
Fila made a point of making the Sentinel lightweight and fast, and according to our playtesters, Fila achieved this goal. Chris never felt slowed down on court. He offered, "I liked the overall feel of these shoes. They felt light and fast on my feet. I was moving very well in them and felt like I was scampering around the court as well as expected. The shoes hide their weight very well, and it was easy to slip them on, forget about them and get on with chasing down the ball."
"No complaints here," said Jason. "The weight wasn't something I had to think about; once I put them on and played in them they were an afterthought, and that's a good thing. Like referees or umpires, it's bad if you keep noticing them during a game or playtest."
Andy thought the shoes felt heavier than they actually were, but he still didn't think they were heavy. He explained, "This was interesting. They weigh in quite light and they do feel a little lighter than other stability-oriented shoes, but at the same time they feel a bit bulky and heavy. I was honestly surprised to see how light they were when we got the chance to weigh them because I kept saying that it feels like 'a lot of shoe' on your feet when you play. They are lightweight, but they play a little heavier than their actual weight."
Overall - Score: 3.6
Chris - "I liked the overall feel and the level of comfort. While there was no standout feature for me, everything came together nicely to offer a good level of performance."
Jason - "They were comfortable and well cushioned, with a low arch that fit my foot shape."
Andy - "I really enjoyed the support and stability, which were the standout features of the shoe. I also thought they were comfortable and fit nicely."
Chris - "I'd like a little more outsole durability."
Jason - "The shoes played very hot. Heel slippage was an issue, and I would've liked a stiffer midfoot shank and/or upper."
Andy - "They play a little heavier than their actual weight, and I would've liked a little more ventilation."
Comparing this shoe to others they've worn, our testers said:
Chris - "I was reminded of the Asics Gel Solution Speed when wearing this shoe, despite the Asics having a narrower fit. Both offer a light and flexibly fast feel, yet have enough support to get the job done. Durability isn't great from either, but the Sentinel comes out ahead with its durability guarantee."
Jason - "It had the same ventilation issues as the old Fila Alfa II shoe."
Andy - "They felt a lot like the Babolat Propulse 4, in that they are low to the ground and very stable while having a softer upper than some other stability-oriented shoes."
Playtester Foot Types:
Chris - Narrow width / Medium arch
Jason - Wide width / Low arch
Andy - Medium width / Low arch
Review date: August 2013. If you found this review interesting or have further questions or comments please contact us.
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